Read an African Perspective on Jesus’s Mission

“Ivory tower.” I always rankled at the application of that term to theological scholarship, especially when my supposed “ivory tower” sat on the dodgy end of Medellín, encircled by razor wire. Admittedly, some academics do operate at a distant remove from the grind of urban misery or rural penury, but that is hardly the case for the global scholars whose work ScholarLeaders International is proud to support. In his essay, Edmond Vanderpuye aptly illustrates what it means to be a grounded theological leader, a scholar whose work addresses the most pressing real-world issues confronted by the global Church.

Edmond splits his time between directing a Christian faith-based organization and advancing in his PhD studies at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. His doctoral thesis asks penetrating questions about how to sustain holistic ministries in an era of diminishing charitable giving. In the attached essay, Edmond presents the model of Christian social enterprise as one strategy for applying Christian faith to local needs in self-funding fashion. It is one more entrepreneurial approach to fostering the spread of the Kingdom of God into every corner of darkness.

You won’t find Edmond, or any of the LeaderStudies scholars and graduates, settled in an ivory tower. To spot them, look for the glow of light in dark spaces: among the impoverished, the trafficked, the mentally ill, and the persecuted. That’s where they serve, because they know that’s a sure-fire place to find Jesus (Matt. 25:40, 45).

With deep gratitude for your contribution to the formation of leaders like Edmond,





Christopher Hays

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